Author Topic: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck  (Read 7494 times)

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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
« on: January 15, 2010, 04:16:16 AM »
This Dutch* composer seems to be one of those figures who looms large in musical history, but seldom gets performed (at least anywhere I happen to be).

My only experience with him consists of some keyboard pieces played on a modern piano (!), including the semi-famous Variations on "Mein junges Leben hat ein End." Lately I've been eyeing a disc of his choral music on Harmonia Mundi.

I'd like to get some opinions on his oeuvre. Any fans out there?

* Note: I do not wish to get into a dispute about his "true" nationality  ;)
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Harry

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Re: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2010, 05:19:00 AM »
Why don't you try this, and yes I am a admirer.

canninator

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Re: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2010, 05:41:49 AM »
I really like Sweelinck but only really his keyboard/organ works both on period and modern instruments. His choral works don't do it for me. My impression (and admittedly this is only based on the Hyperion 2 disc set of complete sacred works) is that they are harmonically a little dull with not enough vertical variety or flavor to maintain any horizontal movement or interest. Having said that, I did come very close to buying the Glossa set Harry recommended as that is one label that has changed my mind about a number of composers.

Offline sTisTi

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Re: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2010, 08:34:32 AM »
For Organ and other Keyboard music, take a look at Herrick's 2-CD set on Hyperion:


Very enjoyable music. AFAIK, Sweelinck is considered one of the fathers of the North-German organ school which culminated in masters like Buxtehude and Bruhns - and Bach, of course ;D

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2010, 10:43:10 PM »
Listening update

I've been listening to this Naxos of Sweelinck's harpsichord music, played by Glen Wilson, a protege of Gustav Leonhardt:



A lot of this music is complex, and it will take a while to evaluate it. However, based on this and some other listening, I think Sweelinck will wind up high in my personal ranking of early keyboard composers. I find his output more compelling that what I've heard from Frescobaldi and Froberger, though maybe not quite as outstanding as Byrd. I'm not the best judge of harpsichords, but performance and recording quality seem pretty good. Recommended.
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Offline The new erato

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Re: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2010, 01:20:06 AM »
Why don't you try this, and yes I am a admirer.
Well yes - but we're waiting for Glossa to publish subsequent volumes, available to subscribers in the Netherlands, but not generally, I've been given to undrstand. 

Offline Que

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Re: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2011, 12:36:35 AM »
i'm interested in maybe getting one or two sweenlick cd's, not a humungous set like yours above, just some good selection of the man's stuff. i don't remember hearing his music, but i know he was a very significant organist/composer of the time, and had much bearing on what guys did later in this area. if you can recommend me something here (are the naxos albums fairly good?), reply to me on this thread, or better still send me a short pm if you can. i'd appreciate your input, this guy has been on my "backburner" for years. yes, you are exactly right, the guy is pretty obscure, even organists i've mentioned his name to, either people i know, or after organ recitals here in sydney, they only seem to know of him, they are not familiar with the actual music in even say 15 per cent "as you are. it's a pity, because from what i've read, the guy was a huge figure in the organ realm, beyond the confines of his town/country/geographical base...

Sid, I've taken you to the Sweelinck thread with thanks to Velimir for bringing it to my attention.

As for Sweelinck, being a more early organ composer his music is more on the austere side than later exuberant music of the high Baroque. But I am myself pleasantly surprised in how innovating, inventive and engaging it is. An interesting and successful mix of styles. I recall you mentioning being familiar with organ music by F. Couperin, so I think you're good on this. :)

Being a new kid on this block myself, I happily pass the request for suggestions for Sweelinck keyboard music on to the real experts! I'm sure Premont and Marc et al can come up with useful suggestions. :)

But I could not help myself but take a peek at the offerings at jpc, thinking what issues I would investigate if I was looking for a nice sampling... 8) A tricky game, so take anything I say from here with a pinch of salt... $:)
I saw some interesting issues: Harald Vogel, I've dubbed him the "professor at the organ", has recently started a project to do a complete Sweelinck series. I found him too academic in Buxtehude, but Sweelinck might be just the thing for him. Still, a new and expensive issue. The cheap reissue of Gustav Leonhardt's Sweelinck recital looks more like it. :) I listened to the samples and they sound beautiful, if you can live with a 1971 recording. For the harpsichord repertoire my eye fell on Glen Wilson's recording on Naxos. I hold Wilson is very high esteem and Sweelinck might suit him (I am a strong believer in the "right" composer-performer combinations) Well, judging from the samples I might buy that one myself as an extra - sounds that good.

A mixed recital with organ music from the period might also be an option, I'm sure there will be some suggestions on that too.



Q
« Last Edit: June 03, 2011, 01:24:13 AM by ~ Que ~ »
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Sid

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Re: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2011, 03:39:30 AM »
@ que -

thanks for those two recommendations. as i said, i like organ music a lot. i like going to organ recitals here in sydney. most of them are dirt cheap, played by our own expert organ scholars, as well as international visitors. it's been a good way to get my head around this wonderfully rich area. as i also mentioned, my favourites are the french organ composers. i have also enjoyed all others i've heard to some level, but i'm only beginning to appreciate this area in a more involved way. the two organ masses of couperin have been a pure joy.

i like what you say about the "austerity" of sweenlick's sound or philosophy. i like the "less is more" approach of many composers, from palestrina to charles wood to frank martin, at least thinking of their choral works. i'm definitely not welded on to the big "romantic" sound or whatever, but i realise that even that is a meaningless stereotype, there was much variety in the romantic era (i don't like these kinds of empty stylistic labels, but that's another story entirely).

you've tapped into my general "vibe" and read between the lines of my post which you posted above. yes, i'm a generalist. i would be very interested in hearing mr leonhardt playing organ, i haven't heard him before play this instrument. i'm just getting into some of the well tempered clavier on harpsichord by j.s. bach. the performance is by wanda landowska, by no means historically accurate in the current sense, but at least the woman has opened up both a composer and instrument which to me previously sounded less accessible than other things that have come more easily to me. i have written both the recordings you recommended in my notepad, and i will come to order them when i have the opportunity. i also thank harry for his earlier post of sweenlick's vocal works, which might be worth looking into (or something similar) as this is the niche i am getting into with greater empathy and understanding nowadays...

Offline Marc

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Re: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2011, 04:47:47 AM »
Man!
I thought I had some nice advice!
Only 3 weeks ago I got this boxset from jpc.de for a laughable price (around 20,--), and now it's sold out! :(



Here's the item at Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/Sweelinck-Keyboard-Works-Winsemius/dp/B000065618/

Here at Amazon.de (still 'reasonably priced'):

http://www.amazon.de/Sweelinck-Keyboard-Works-Winsemius/dp/B000065618/

(Dunno how 'friendly' import taxes are from Europe to Australia ....)

I haven't heard all of it yet, but so far I'm very very happy with this purchase.

About mr. Leonhardt: he's more 'in love' with the harpsichord than with the organ, as he has stated in some interviews. But I've had the pleasure of hearing him once in a live concert on a Schnitger/Hinsz organ (Pelstergasthuiskerk, Groningen, NL), playing 17th century music. That was great!

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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2011, 07:04:30 AM »
I can fully second the recommendations from  ~Que~  and Marc above concerning the 9 CD "complete" Dutch Sweelinck box, which offers a nice survey played on important historical organs by a group of authoritative organists.

The Leonhardt CD (DHM) and the Wilson CD (Naxos) mentioned above are valuable additions to the box, or representative examples of Sweelincks keyboard music, if you do not want the complete box.

Ton Koopman has made a Sweelinck integral for Philips (four CDs - and of course not equally complete as the Dutch box). I think that his playing is relative strict in this set, and an interesting feature is, that a little less than one third of it is played on the Compenius organ in Frederiksborg Slot, DK.

But there are some other single CDs I consider mandatory (I do not know about the aviability, since I acquired them some years ago, but it seems as if JPC lists most of them).

1)  Sweelinck: Oevres pour le clavier, Noelle Spieth harpsichord (Solstice)

2)  Sweelinck: Keyboard works, Anneke Uittenbosch (also a Leonhardt pupil) harpsichord and organ (Globe)

3)  Sweelinck: "Ballo dek Granduca" Serge Schoonbroodt on a meantone tuned organ (renaissance organ -1600, restored 1998- in  LEglise Saint-Jacques, Lige).

Later (secondary choices) one may consider the single CDs of  James David Christie (Naxos), Siegbert Rampe (MDG) and Peter Ella clavichord! (Hungaroton).

I do not know the first CD in Harald Vogels new projected integral, nor the CD by Hans Davisson  (Intim Musik). Vogel is on my wishlist.

The only Sweelinck CD (of the many I know) I would disrecommend, is Masaaki Suzukis on BIS.  It is stiff, uncharming and played on an uninteresting modern Japanese neo-baroque organ.

Edit:
I forgot the twoofer by Christopher Herrick, which is in my listening pile at the moment.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2011, 07:07:59 AM by (: premont :) »
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Offline Marc

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Re: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2011, 11:16:34 AM »
[....]
The cheap reissue of Gustav Leonhardt's Sweelinck recital looks more like it. :) I listened to the samples and they sound beautiful, if you can live with a 1971 recording.
[....]



Listening to Da pacem, Domine, in diebus nostris (Give us, peace, o Lord, in our days) and yes, I really believe that peace is possible .... in music.

Somehow Leonhardt sounds more convincing to me in early baroque organ works than he does in Bach.

Good recording sound of a beautiful Metzler organ, btw.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2011, 11:23:30 AM by Marc »
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Offline Que

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Re: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2011, 11:22:35 AM »
Listening to Da pacem, Domine, in diebus nostris (Give us, peace, o Lord, in our days) and yes, I really believe that peace is possible .... in music.

Somehow Leonhardt sounds more convincing to me in early baroque organ works than he does in Bach.

Good recording sound of a beautiful Metzler organ, btw.

I fully agree with your observations! :)

Pity that Sid left - I don't know if he got a chance to read up on this topic... :-\

Q
chacun son got.

Offline Marc

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Re: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2011, 11:27:12 AM »
[....]
Pity that Sid left - I don't know if he got a chance to read up on this topic... :-\

Yeah, did not notice that until after my I had sent my contribution. So I started to modify my message, then saw that you already had quoted ....  :-\ .... and changed it back again.

Maybe Sid will keep on lurking in a more modest way. Sometimes boards like these can take too much of one's time.

About the recording sound: here and there are a few minor drop-outs audible, but it doesn't spoil my evening.
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Antoine Marchand

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Re: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2011, 12:49:34 PM »
The only Sweelinck CD (of the many I know) I would disrecommend, is Masaaki Suzukis on BIS.  It is stiff, uncharming and played on an uninteresting modern Japanese neo-baroque organ.

Thanks Suzuki Masaaki! It's a slight financial relief. Something is better than nothing. Now I just need some extra euros to get the recommended recordings.   ;D 

Offline Purusha

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Re: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2014, 05:14:10 AM »
Sorry to revive this old thread like this, but i am currently in the process of acquiring the complete vocal and keyboard works of Sweelinck, but i am unable to find any complete list of his music that i can use to sort his output. I find this strange because even minor composers have detailed work lists on wikipedia and other sites, but not for Sweelinck. I know for instance that his works are cataloged using "SwWV" numbers but there's no mention of them in my complete set of his keyboard works, despite the voluminous liner notes.

I wonder if any of you knowledgeable folks knows anything about this.

Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2017, 09:09:24 PM »
I have become enamored with this set of Sweelinck's complete keyboard music. I have never heard another composer quite like him, and find it very enjoyable to become lost in the enormous complexity of the compositions, and the incredible beauty and sonority of these instruments.




I just finished the 12 CD Frescobaldi set (Loreggian, Vartolo et al), and it seems their styles are superficially similar--both, to a large degree representative of stylus fantasticus, I suppose. However, honestly, Frescobaldi bored me to tears! Their temperments (no pun intended) seem quite opposed, with Sweelinck more serious and contemplative--my take anyway.

In any case, I am now also interested in exploring other recordings of the keyboard works (yes, I have the Glenn Gould, which I love) and, especially the choral and other works.

Fire away. 
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2017, 02:25:35 AM »
Paul van Nevel recorded a CD of choral music with the Netherlands Chamber Choir which I remember enjoying. It's part of a set from NM which would complement your big box of keyboard music.  If you enjoyed Sweelinck maybe try Peter Philips.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2017, 02:29:55 AM by Mandryka »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2017, 09:25:37 AM »
I have become enamored with this set of Sweelinck's complete keyboard music. I have never heard another composer quite like him, and find it very enjoyable to become lost in the enormous complexity of the compositions, and the incredible beauty and sonority of these instruments.




I just finished the 12 CD Frescobaldi set (Loreggian, Vartolo et al), and it seems their styles are superficially similar--both, to a large degree representative of stylus fantasticus, I suppose. However, honestly, Frescobaldi bored me to tears! Their temperments (no pun intended) seem quite opposed, with Sweelinck more serious and contemplative--my take anyway.

In any case, I am now also interested in exploring other recordings of the keyboard works (yes, I have the Glenn Gould, which I love) and, especially the choral and other works.

Fire away.

One question is whether it's really worth having any other instrumental recordings, apart from the NM box. I'd say the big thing that's missing from the NM is clavichord, and so it may well be worth considering buying Peter Ella's recording, and/or Siegbert Rampe's.
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Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2017, 11:36:30 AM »
Thanks. Was the clavichord music specifically written for that instrument and not included in the NM set, or, is this music included, but played on harpsichord? 

The Paul Van Nevel set looks good, but $120 for a three CD set! (used!!)  :o
« Last Edit: July 28, 2017, 11:40:17 AM by XB-70 Valkyrie »
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Online Jeffrey Smith

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Re: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2017, 11:46:08 AM »
I suppose the other alternative is


played on a mix of harpsichords, organs and virginals, but no clavichords, and a mix of players.  IIRC Leonhardt's recording was included as a sort of tribute to him.   I am NOT actually recommending this box: I've listened to it, but not been completely sold on it.  I don't know if the fault was with Sweelinck, with the performances, or with me.

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